Wednesday 31 March 2021

Wednesday 31st March

Peter e mailed late on last night to say that Ed Burrell had seen a Swallow fly in from the sea over at Kintra.

This morning, James had heard a Chiffchaff calling out in his garden at Mill Cottage. Lesley e mailed through the following birds seen by her yesterday....

"A raft of 26 Tysties seen just off Port Ellen seen from the ferry... Also seen was a passage of around 30+ Redwings, in the fields around her house this morning."

Gary e mailed through today, he had seen an Osprey down at the head of Loch Indaal at Bridgend this morning. Later on in at Loch Finlaggan, he had seen the following birds....

"2 Red throated Diver flew in and 2 Wheatear on the big island. Large fall of Redwing & Song Thrush into trees around Finlaggan House."

 David Wood had a Chiffchaff calling on the Oa today as well. David Dinsley had seen a Swallow at Kinnabus with Ed Burrell seen a Wheatear and some Sand Martins at Cornabus as well.

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Tuesday 30thMarch

Margaret was speaking to George E . Jackson on the phone earlier on this afternoon... George was telling her about seeing a single Whooper Swan down on Loch Gorm. He also told Margaret about seeing some groups of Lapwings and also some Meadow Pipits all displaying...

Monday 29 March 2021

Monday 29th March

 An e mail from James, earlier on this evening..

"All very, very wet here with 48hrs of solid rain, the reserve is very flooded. 

Some birds seen today included: male Gadwall and the Little Egret is still here."


Sunday 28 March 2021

Sunday 28th March

Good friend Armin had counted 16 Whooper Swans in a field down close to where he was walking, before they flew off... obviously, not on  Islay but from Berkshire!!!!!

Please remember that there will be no meeting of the Islay bird nerds this coming Tuesday evening...

Saturday 27 March 2021

Saturday 27th March

Peter sent me through the following comments earlier on this afternoon...

"No birds to report, but I was down at Portnahaven today and counted the seals hauled out on the beaches: 175 on Eilean Mhic Coinnich and a further 35 on Orsay. £

Gary sent some birds seen by himself today when out.

"A female Hen Harrier quartering moorland at Finlaggan, 5 Redshank flying in and landing on shore of Loch.

Between Mulreesh & Balulive 2 sub adult Golden Eagles seen hunting hares in the fields below the road."

He also commented by saying about,  "People starting to appear on the island already. One jag and they think they are immune !!!!"

Friday 26 March 2021

Friday 26th March

This morning, looking out the window, and what did I see but a new tick for this year, a drake Mallard flew past and landed down on the grass... I know that they are often seen on the stream at the foot of the garden, but this one decided to come and visit. Another bird seen out on the grass, one day earlier on through the week, was a Red legged Partridge, before it scooted away..

There have ben a lot of birds in on the feeders today, possibly a sign that the weather is going to change to be a little cooler again!!!

Thursday 25 March 2021

Thursday 25th March

Before I forget, as we are still in the middle of the current pandemic, there will be no meeting of the Islay Bird nerds on Tuesday evening. It must be back in November 2019 that we last met up.

Morven and the team from Nature Scotland, formerly SNH, carried out the International Goose count last week, and here are the figures which Morven sent through to me the other day...

"The count was carried out on 16/17 March and totals were 29,798 barnies, 6878 white-fronts and 693 greylags. Lots of pairs of greylags noticeable at the moment"

Many thanks for your figures, Morven...


Wednesday 24 March 2021

Wednesday 24thMarch

Peter e mailed the following to me late on last night...

"Just had a note from Mark Shields that Shona Islay had seen a Magpie at Port Ellen today. I've still not seen the species on Islay, so may go on a "twitch" tomorrow!" 

Well, Peter kept his promise up today...and caught up with the Magpie over at Laphroaig, His first sighting of one on Islay. He also told me that he had seen a flock of around 70 Skylarks feeding in the fields over at Claggain Bay as well.

This morning, James had seen a White tailed Eagle flying over Loch Indaal.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Tuesday 23rd March

Peter was in touch to sat that Mark Shields had seen a Wheatear at Saligo yesterday, the first summer migrant on Islay for this year according to Peter...

So all we need now is a Common Sandpiper, a few Sand Martins too would be tremendous to see as well...

Monday 22 March 2021

Monday 22nd March

 Karen Graham sent me through the following e mail this afternoon.

"A rare sighting of a Song Thrush in garden today. Last year, I noted a pair in late April in the garden."

James e mailed the tally for their Red Deer count carried out on Friday, with the total coming to 86 seen in total... a similar figure to previous years if I mind correctly...

Sunday 21 March 2021

Sunday 21st March

James sent me through the following birds which were seen when the annual Deer count was carried out on Friday on the reserve at Gruinart and over the hill up towards Ardnave...

6 Hen Harriers, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Water Rails – heard, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Red Grouse and also 2 Adders!!!

Mandy had counted 15 Whooper Swans down on the wee lochan at Claddach at Portnahaven yesterday. This morning, she had 5 Goldfinches in on her feeders at her home.

Saturday 20 March 2021

Saturday 20th MArch

Sorry folks nowt much to report, well it is Saturday and Scotland beat Italy and also Ireland beat England in the rugby matches earlier on..

Meanwhile Aberdeen could not even beat Dundee United at football, one day sometime they will get back to scoring goals again, at least here's hoping they do...  You can't win them all!!!

Friday 19 March 2021

Friday 19th March

Petr sent me through this e mail earlier on today,  

"I've started checking all suitable woodland for Great Spotted Woodpeckers to try and get an idea of how many there might be. Perhaps you could mention on the blog for people on Islay to look out for any signs - either seeing or hearing them and let you (or me) know? I was in Foreland this morning with Lesley and we had a female pecker, so it is a start."  So, please if you hear or see any Great spotted Woodpeckers when you are out and about on Islay or even on Jura, let me know by an e mail and I will forward it onto Peter.

The other day, Karen Graham had seen some bees out flying around in her garden in Bearsden and then yesterday she had seen a Toad out along the path/track where she was walking along. Today, back on the feeders in her garden she had a couple of Goldfinches as well as a pair of Siskins , the first Siskins of the year.

Thursday 18 March 2021

Thursday 18th March

Peter helped Bob with his WEBS count from Port Charlotte up to Blackrock on Tuesday. Results:

G N Diver - 22

R T Diver 23

Slav Grebe - 1

Shag - 4

Cormorant - 3

Razorbill - 1

Guillemot - 1

Black Guillemot - 1

Greylags - 106

Mallard - 1

Eider - 31

R B Merganser - 20

Common Scoter - 2

B H Gull - 4

Common Gull - 53

Herring Gull - 34

G B B Gull - 9

L B B Gull - 2

Curlew - 24

Lapwing - 1

Ringed Plover - 14

Purple Sandpiper - 5

Turnstone - 3

Oystercatcher  - 94

Meanwhile, James had seen a Little Egret over at GruinartπŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Wednesday 17th March

 Christine Menzies sent me the following e mail this afternoon

"Just been reading comments about lack of Goldfinch being seen. I have four regulars in my garden so perhaps they like Port Ellen.😊 "

James has been out the last couple of days helping to count the geese as it is that time again for the International Goose counts to be done, so in a day or two, fingers crossed and we should get the tally through from Morven. James had also seen the following other birds when out as well...

"Great sightings of  Eagles, with 3 juv. W T Eagles at Killinallan, Golden eagle Killinallan and a Merlin Gruinart

Today, White tailed eagle Gruinart, White tailed eagle Ardnave"

Just hope that the Eagles did not spoof all the geese away!!!


Tuesday 16 March 2021

Tuesday 16th March

Well, as promised here at "the scores on the doors" through from the WeBS count carried out yesterday by James, Mark and Lauren on Loch Gruinart...

"Great northern diver: 4, cormorant: 1, shelduck: 107, wigeon: 197, teal: 493, mallard: 57, red-breasted merganser: 7, oystercatcher: 285, ringed plover: 8, knot: 34, sanderling: 84, dunlin: 120, bar-tailed godwit: 206, curlew: 106, redshank: 165, turnstone: 28, black headed gull: 78, common gull: 132, lesser black backed gull: 8, herring gull: 15, great black backed gull: 3, pintail: 110, shoveler: 46, greenshank: 1, moorhen: 2, little grebe: 2, snipe: 8, lapwing: 169, whooper swan: 16, mute swan: 1, little egret: 1, Gadwall (male): 1, golden plover: 1345, Grey Heron: 1, Golden Eagle: 1."

Monday 15 March 2021

Monday 15th March

Karen Graham sent me some birds seen while out on a walk in the park, over in Bearsden...

"Out on walk in park which is wet and muddy there were 8 Lesser Black backed gulls, some Herring gulls and around 12 Crows. Worms must be at surface after such constant rain. Out in back garden several Wood and Feral pigeons, 8 Blackbirds and 2 Siskin on feeder. 2 Goldcrests prefer the fat cake, coconuts and large fir cones which I fill with porridge oats, seed and lard mix."

Gary sent me through these birds seen yesterday by himself in at Finlaggan...

"Pair of adult White tailed Eagle, 7 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 female Goldeneye."

James today sent me through this e mail

"Not many birds to report, it seemed to rain every day last week and the weekend. Over the weekend I did see a Lesser Black backed Gull at last and a Greenshank on the Floods. I think Lauren is going to send the WeBS results through – it was a better day today so we managed to get out for a count. I am counting geese the next couple of days so I will see what I can find. Hope the weather improves."

As James mentioned that Lauren was going to send through the WeBS count carried out today which she has done but I will keep them in my back pocket and use them tomorrow, so watch this space tomorrow!!!

Sunday 14 March 2021

Sunday 14th March

Should have included some comments sent by Marsali on Friday in the same e mail about rain fall figures for January and also February... better late than never!!! 

"It’s quite cold here at the moment and there are some heavy hail showers.   The wind has dropped considerably and the ferries are sailing.   We have a Sparrowhawk lurking around which sits on top of the bird feeders waiting for the wee ones to come along. I don’t think it has managed to catch any yet as I haven’t been aware of feathers on the ground.  There is also a very well fed Pheasant living in the garden which gets a fair amount of nourishment from the ground below the feeders.    So far it’s just the usual Chaffinches and Tits that come to the feeders and an occasional Robin on the ground below. But they fairly get through the suet balls!"

Saturday 13 March 2021

Saturday 13th March

 Malcolm sent me through this e mail earlier on today...

"It was interesting to read what George has at Coultorsay, as I, too, have plenty of Chaffinches, with regularly between 30 and 40, but not a single Goldfinch all winter, which is disappointing as up to 4 were regular last winter and they bred locally last summer. This is over double the number of Chaffinches a few weeks ago, while Starling (up to 40), House Sparrow (up to 20) and Collared Dove (up to 20) are all well down on November to mid-February numbers."

Friday 12 March 2021

Friday 12th March

 This morning I had a right good blether on the phone with George E, Jackson who has backed up my thoughts on the  recent weather, basically wet and windy with the showers appearing out of nowhere, not being conducive to bird watching... On a positive note George was saying that he has been having around 35 birds in at his feeders at Coultorsay mainly Chaffinches being present, and certainly no Goldfinches so far!!!  

Marsali kindly sent me through her rainfall figures for January and also February this morning with the tallies coming to  January  175mm (7”) and February  161 mm (6.4”).  

Thursday 11 March 2021

Thursday 11th March

Well I know that I am about to write another weather report similar to last nights' opening statement but it has the copy of Calmac's update referring to the sailings back and forward to Islay, basically the ferry did not sail to Port Ellen at all today, but at least it did manage to use Port Askaig. Needless to say we await the weather forecast for tomorrow....

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Wednesday 10th March

Well, I think that like the most of us that you will have had a miserable kind of a day with the weather. Mostly with and being blown along good style with strong winds in the equation as well, To top it all I believe that the weather forecast does not appear to be much better over the next day or two....

The only good news is that the Siskins have been out on the feeders, not a lot but at least they are here..

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Tuesday 9th March

 An e mail which Armin Grewe sent me through to me yesterday included the following comments...

"I had some Swan excitement round here: coming back from my walk I noticed a pair of Swans as well as a single Swans not far further down the canal. The latter, I kind of had to chase from the towpath as it didn't want to let me pass initially. When I arrived back at my house going up the stairs I noticed a commotion outside. Looking out of the staircase windows I could see a lot of flapping and some agitated Swans, unfortunately the trees and shrubs were blocking some of the view. I think the pair of Swans had confronted the lone Swan, may they didn't like it in their territory?"


Monday 8 March 2021

Monday 8th March

 Good friend Karen Graham who lives in Bearsden sent me this e mail through this morning...

Early yesterday evening looking out could see two foxes on a mission rushing around down street and in and out of gardens. Went to look out our back window to see one, up the willow tree and the other taking a quick drink from the bird bath before both rushing away.  They certainly were on a trail. Squirrels, perhaps as the tree is a favourite of theirs."  

Sunday 7 March 2021

Sunday 7th March

Well, all I can tell you about tonight is that we had seen a few Siskins on the feeders today, great to watch their antics.... 

Saturday 6 March 2021

Saturday 6th March

Just before we were going to have our tea tonight, when looking out the window at 4 hen Pheasants which were outside having a good rummage around under the bird feeders... All of a sudden, there was a strike down onto the ground and lo and behold one of the Pheasants had killed something, a  clean, one blow instant kill.. On going out to examine what was no longer with us, only to discover that it had been a very young I removed the dead rat away out of the way!!!

Friday 5 March 2021

Friday 5th March

James was in touch earlier on this evening, sending me some sightings seen on the reserve at Gruinart today...

"1 Golden Eagle and 3 White tailed Eagles on the reserve today

I think you asked about Feb rainfall - I had 102mm or 4 inches in old money, a colder drier month."

I think that I remember James telling me earlier on that his figure for January came to 5.5 inches.

Gary also e mailed through to say that he had seen another Barn Owl out flying over the merse between the road junction where the high and the low roads meet just along from Bridgend and along to Pennycraig. (John Calderwood's former blacksmiths building)


Wednesday 3 March 2021

Wednesday 3rd March

James was out of his office yesterday at Gruinart and I was really pleased for him....

"Been out and about raising the water levels on the reserve for the Spring so had seen the following birds

Yesterday: 6 White tailed Eagles all juvs – together on the salt marsh

Yellowhammer on my birdfeeder

 2 Little Egrets still about

49 Whooper Swans on the reserve maybe a bit of gentle northerly migration occurring in the good weather."

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Tuesday 2nd March

 George E. Jackson sent the following e mail to me earlier on this evening...

"Forgot to get round to telling you that 2 days ago walking down to Lilly Loch I saw a Dabchick (or Little grebe if you are being formal) on the water/marshy area on the right hand side just after the start of the path from the top lay-by. Nothing else seen or heard, including no Nuthatch evidence and no woodpecker noises."

I know that I mentioned yesterday about it was the start of Spring, somebody forgot to mention that it is also meant to include in the statement that it is also meant to be a bit warmer too, it certainly not much warmer, at least it is is dry...

Monday 1 March 2021

Monday 1st March

Well now, I suppose that that is another month in, so must get in touch with some of our weather watchers to get a set of figures to amaze you with the rain that fell around the place...  Something else has happened since I wrote the entry for the blog last night, as it is now officially the start of Spring...

Sally, James's wife had seen some frog spawn when she was out yesterday....